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Finding the right candidate for the job is never an easy task. Every organization has a different process, but it often involves reading stacks of applications and resumes, conducting phone interviews and in-person interviews, evaluating real-world skills assessments and, increasingly, reviewing personality tests of candidates.

A personality test (such as the Discself assessment) is able to identify key traits and behavior characteristics in prospective candidates that might not be apparent in interview situations. It communicates to hiring managers what each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses are, as well as how well he or she would fit into the team and the company culture.

Personality tests are becoming more popular among companies who are trying to find the best leaders as hiring begins to pick up after the recession.

A recent Wall Street Journal article gives an example of one firm using such assessments:

David Elkins jumped through a lot of hoops before Becton, Dickinson & Co. hired him as its chief financial officer in December 2008. After eight interviews with company officials, he underwent an executive “assessment.”

The day-long process included a business-simulation exercise involving role playing, a two-hour session with an educational psychologist and online personality tests that gauged key traits such as strategic thinking. Becton says it assessed 95 internal and external prospects for executive posts last year, up from six in 2008.

Managers promoting from within the organization also turn to personality tests to help them select the best person for the job. According to research by the Aberdeen Group, a market-research firm, about 72 percent of 516 employers now use assessments to make executive promotion decisions, almost twice the percentage doing so in 2010. Employers surveyed said they used evaluations based on different cognitive, behavioral, simulation and motivational tests.

Using a personality test to screen candidates does require an investment in time and money, but the benefits are well worth it. Hiring the right way the first time lets companies find the perfect person for the job.

Does your organization use personality tests as part of the hiring process? Share why or why not in the comments.

Learn more about the benefits of the Discself assessment.

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